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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Pontiac G8 ST

It's been a bad month for Pontiac fans. While begging for money from Congress, GM mentioned its intentions to sacrifice the brand to aid the General's recovery and get a few billion from the feds in the process. Now comes word that GM may keep the brand around, but cut its lineup in half... or more.

Automotive News spoke with Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, who said that Pontiac's Aveo-based 2010 G3 will sticker for $15,000, but says it's a short-term product for the brand. Unfortunately, Docherty also hints the G8 Sport Truck's lifespan could be even shorter. "We would be foolish if we didn't take a second look at whether or not that is the right thing to do."

In a separate AN article, Docherty goes even further and suggests Pontiac's lineup could be pared down from six vehicles to a single nameplate. According to Docherty, "We are not going to spend tons of money on product development" for Pontiac and that the Pontiac Torrent will be dropped for 2009.

So what will Pontiac be selling? According to Docherty, the G8 is the most likely candidate for GM's performance brand, and that the ideal future for Pontiac would be "very focused, very specialty or niche."



[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 86 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      For those who like to make comments based on facts and not the size, shape, color, and texture of what comes out of their behinds:

      http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=50747

      My concern is for the PBG dealers. They are supposed to offer a full line of cars, crossovers, trucks, SUVS, and sports cars just like Chevrolet does. If Pontiac is downsized to the G8 and Solstice, then PBG dealers lose their best-selling vehicle (the G6) as well as their most fuel-efficient models (G3, G5, G6, Vibe.) If GM considers Buick to be a 'core' brand, then perhaps GM will adjust Buick's lineup to include smaller, more fuel-efficient models to make up for the loss of the Pontiacs that filled that role. That way, Buick sells premium cars and crossovers, Pontiac sells sporty cars, and GMC sells trucks, SUVs, and vans aimed at businesses.

      I think things like the G8 and Astra, which should have been selling a lot better (bad economy and frozen credit market aside), were not advertised enough by GM. I see commercials for Chevrolets and Cadillacs all the time, but I hardly ever see anything for any of GM's other brands. I can understand them not wanting their CAFE to go down (G8) or having to import a lot of cars under an unfavorable exchange rate (Astra), but, for goodness's sake, if you have great products, you need to let people know about them so they will come take a look at what you've got and, possibly, buy something!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. Who knew people actually cared about pontiac?

      All of you should note "Beatitnerd" 's response. The only reason pontiac will survive is the franchise issue and that is a major issue with GM. They really can't afford to eliminate some of these brands which is probably the only reason they still exist (here's looking at you GMC, Pontiac)

        • 6 Years Ago
        "Wow. Who knew people actually cared about pontiac?"

        Nobody cares about Pontiac. That's Pontiac's problem.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There needs to be more logic and LESS overlap of brands.

      Here's my 2 Cents. It's not complete yet but my direction is clear(I hope)

      Higher end: Cadillac (existing CTS + when there is money single replacement for STS/DTS)

      Mid range/value brand: Chevy (insignia type vehicles + VOLT etc)

      Sedan performance brand: Pontic G8, G8 GT + put the 306HP V6 into the G8.

      2 seater image brand: Corvette. Drop the Solstice stuff and put the 306 HP V6 into a Jr Corvette + perhaps a 2L 4 Cylinder turbo job. Yeah I know purists will scream, but Corvette needs more sales and the V6 should sparkle and be even more rewarding in handling and mpg.

      Trucks: GMC best of breed SUVs and ALL hybrid no gas only vehicles.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The G8 sedan will only last until 2012 when GM's contract with Holden expires. They may even can it sooner as it isn't selling well (Dodge moves more Challengers per month) and it makes virtually zero profit for GM.

      Pontiac as a whole should have been discontinued years ago. Without the Firebird there's really nothing left of the brand's soul from it's heyday. And with Chevrolet selling the Camaro why bother? The brand does nothing Chevrolet isn't already doing or couldn't do better.

      Even the Holden-sourced G8 sedan would have done better sold through Chevrolet.
        • 6 Years Ago
        'How can GM have a contract with part of its own company? Holden is part of GM; it just developed the car and assembles it.'

        Are you serious?
        There's lots of learning that happens after high school. Go get some.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How can GM have a contract with part of its own company? Holden is part of GM; it just developed the car and assembles it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In response to Ack154 - "Why would they even keep an entire brand for a single vehicle? That just seems retarded."


      It IS retarded. As a Pontiac Dealer that was previously an Oldsmobile Dealer, I can honestly say that this is a move to essentially eliminate a brand without paying out the 2200+ Pontiac dealers severance for the Franchise. Unless a bankruptcy takes place, state franchise laws don't permit the manufacturers to drop a vehicle line without some form of agreed upon franchise termination fee (usually based on metrics such as past sales performance, years as a franchised dealer, etc.)

      They can afford to pay the "fee" and close the 700 total (or so) Saturn, Hummer, and Saab stores a lot more inexpensively than they can Pontiac. It's nothing more than a way to terminate the brand without technically terminating it. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is called a "constructed termination" and it's used legally in every field, down to retail, where it's probably most common. What it denotes is the deliberate act of avoiding having to fire a worker by making his job just not worth the cost and effort it takes to come to work.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the problem is that as auto enthusiasts and not economists, many of Autoblog's readers are overstating the demand for RWD cars in the United States. The best way to really gauge this demand is to look at vehicles that are offered in both RWD and AWD in order to see the rate at which they sell compared to one another. Without doing much mental lifting, I arrived at BMW's 3-series and 5-series. Can anyone tell me how many RWD (s-drive now I guess) BMW's sell relative to AWD (x-drive) BMWs? My guess is that a surprisingly high number of individuals are willing to pay more for AWD. Furthermore, my conjecture is that an even higher number of consumers (remember, not all consumers are enthusiasts) don't even care about the difference between AWD, RWD, and even FWD and probably couldn't tell you the difference.

      Keeping Pontiac around as a RWD brand is a silly idea. If GM can think of ways to save Pontiac by making good-looking cars that people want that actually sell (G8 didn't meet sales expectations, sorry), then that's great. However, forming a brand around a single philosophy that has little public salience such as RWD is a foolish move.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think it is correct to say people are overstating the demand for RWD in the US. I think the majority of buyers want RWD vehicles. GM just didn't offer them for so long. Most manufacturers didn't. As soon as RWD cars became largely unavailable outside a few niche brands such as BMW, two things happened. Those niche brands started selling more. Everyone that didn't buy them bought RWD trucks and SUV's instead. To many people FWD just feels wrong.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, there are a lot more RWD cars offered with AWD. Almost all of the Mercedes sedans and wagons can be had with a 4matic option, Infiniti has it as an option on the G-series (soon including the coupe) and it's also available on some Lexi. It was (is?) also available on the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, maybe also on the Charger.

        However, one of the dirty little secrets of the car business is that most high-end cars sell the most volume at the lowest trim levels, eg. the E-series volume leader is the E350 (and delete badges is a popular option...) and AWD is not a common option. Only on Audis is AWD a common option, and I think that's because it substantially improves the resale value, thereby paying for itself.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've been assuming for months that Pontiac and GMC will be gone or at least the announcement of their demise will come by the end of 2009. With the exception of the G8, every Pontiac and GMC is either a rebadged Chevy or Saturn or both. The G8 could easily become in the US what it is in the Middle East, the Caprice. Buick will survive because it provides an entry to mid-level luxury brand between Chevy and Cadillac AND because of it's incredible strength in China.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Chicken or egg argument but the Solstice was the first version of the triplets. Sky came second and the Opel GT came last. The Sky and Solstice are not really rebadges.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Solstice is the rebadge. The SKY is a DIRECT copy of the Opel, which both are based upon.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Sky is a direct rebadge but the Solstice is identical except for the body.
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM:
      Forget about the Pontiac G3 five door, and market the 3 door version instead.
      The AVEO5 is perfect for Chevy and having the same version, with different cosmetics, just makes no sense. The 3 door would give potential buyers of that class of vehicle a choice that would play much better, IMHO, than offering the same basic 5 door machine as Chevy does.

      As it is, and what GM has in mind for offering the G3 for short term sales is such a waste.

      Peace!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Decimating Pontiac's line-up will not help GM one iota. Pontiac customers are radically different from those of Buick or Chevrolet. GM risks losing those Pontiac customers (about 350,000 or so).

      There is a better way to resolve this crisis. Badge engineering can be successful if it is handled properly.

      Using the CHEVROLET Malibu as a guide, a new PONTIAC "Grand Prix" could be built with Pontiac's front and rear fascia, a rear spoiler, bucket seats and sport interior, but with a turbocharged engine and sport tuned suspension. Note that the Malibu could also still offer 2 trim upgrades [LS, SS] without any overlap.

      Even a new upscale BUICK "Regal" could be made with Buick's front and rear fascia, luxury interior, supercharged engine and touring suspension.

      All three vehicles are basically the same, but each one is an entirely different automobile catering to the desires of different customers. Furthermore, all three can be marketed at the same time (3 in 1 advertising). Even more important, all three can be manufactured with relative ease at the same facility, Orion MI [200,000 Malibus; 100,000 Grand Prix; 60,000 Regals], thus reducing manufacturing expenses. No customers would be lost in this process and the costs are minimal.

      Thus you would have a line-up that would look something like this:
      CHEVROLET Aveo
      CHEVROLET Cruze, PONTIAC LeMans, BUICK Apollo
      CHEVROLET Malibu, PONTIAC Grand Prix, BUICK Regal
      CHEVROLET Impala, PONTIAC Bonneville, BUICK Park Avenue
      CHEVROLET Camaro
      CHEVROLET Corvette
      CHEVROLET Traverse, GMC Acadia, BUICK Roadmaster
      and so on.

      Even the CHEVROLET Silverado would be complemented by an upscale GMC Sierra.
      CHEVROLET Express cargo van would be complemented by an upscale GMC Savana passenger van.

      Redundancy is all but obliterated. But better rebadging and product definition are paramount to a successful turn-around. Therefore as you can plainly see, it is very easy to maintain the current brands and not lose any customers. Losing customers at this point would likely be the death of the General.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not so much of a pulpit as it is a ledge!
      • 6 Years Ago
      My plan for Pontiac:
      Keep the G5 as a restyled Cruze, but move the high-performance (SS/GXP) option solely to Pontiac. This will keep Pontiac as the performance brand.
      Move the G6 onto the Alpha platform. This will help cut down production costs for the Cadillac small sedan in turn (economies of scale), and provide for an affordable midsize sedan.
      Keep the Solstice (I know it will probably die, according to GM, but I can only hope). It's a great little roadster with a really nice engine.
      Keep the G8 (thankfully, they're doing that).
      Replace the G8 ST with the G8 SportWagon. I think there is more room for a performance wagon than a unibody truck (judging from Ridgeline sales). If they raise the ride height a little bit, they can call it a crossover and improve sales at least a little bit (in the ideas of the wagon-averse American public).
      Kill the Torrent (they are supposed to do that anyway, with the replacement going to GMC as the Terrain).
      Kill the G3 (I feel like GM was somewhat ambiguous about its existence).
      Replace the Vibe with a G5 - (Cruze - ) derived wagon (also styled differently from the Cruze), and make it a specialty hot-hatch.
      What do you think?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I totally agree with the direction that GM might take with Pontiac. A one or two car lineup certainly can work. Look at Mini. There sales are up 40% Pontiac needs a performance sedan and sports car like the soltice sky and that's it.

      That support truck doesn't look like it would burn up the sales charts. It would be another Chevy SSR. If they build the Pontiac truck, better build its coffin along side it.

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